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03/29/2023 08:00 AM

Not ‘Critically Important’

While the eminent domain language has since been removed from the HB 5917 bill, let us not forget that it is one more shameless attempt for the Shoreline Greenway Trail to circumvent the will of the people and the voice of local legislation to impose bicycle roads on pristine, preserved open space and farmland. The Leete family has privately and publicly rejected these loosely formulated proposals for such roads for more than 15 years. It appears that, once again, the voices of the people and local government must be heard.

Proponents for such “greenway” roads (incongruence intended) include not only members of The Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association and the East Coast Greenway Alliance but also locally elected officials Senator Christine Cohen (Guilford) and Representative Roland Lemar (New Haven). This support is underscored as it is in stark contrast to the rejection these proposals received from constituents during the last go around (2016-’17).

As representatives of the Leete family, who has owned land in Guilford for more than 350 years, we feel a certain obligation as stewards of that land to maintain the farmland, marshes, and woodlands as the open space and denizen for wildlife that it is. Bicycle roads are not greenways. Bicycle roads are not “critically important” (Lisa Fernandez, President of The Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association), they should not be “treated like other transportation facilities” (Sandy Fry, Chair of Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board), and they are not “important alternative transportation” corridors (R Bruce Donald, Southern New England Manager East Coast Greenway Alliance). Let’s be clear….the bicycle roads are strictly for recreational means. They also represent a use that is disparate from what our family has endeavored to maintain over three centuries.

Lawrence R. Leete III

Cameron E. Leete